sing-song speech from smiling street merchants
spicy, pungent smells of Indian food and temple incense
clothing in peacock colors gaudy with tiny shinny mirrors and small silver rounds
rapid-fire Singapore English spoken by helpful locals when we were lost
foreheads marked with bindi (women) or tilak(men)
Bollywood meets Chinatown meets British manners
Kinokuniya-the largest book shop in Southeast Asia
streets and buildings named Victoria
EZ Pass for easy travel on the MRT of buses
I’m not upset that we are back in Sebana Cove rather than in Singapore because I know the plan is to spend one or two months there beginning late January. Singapore might just be my favorite stop so far. And that conclusion comes without even beginning to explore the huge National Library or anything more than bits of Little India, Kinokuniya Book Store and the Bras Basah Complex that houses Art Friend and is nicknamed City of Books for a reason, lots and lots of used and new book shops. Just a great place. We walked and walked and walked and the weather gods were smiling. If we do move DoraMac to Singapore I would like to visit each of the really unique areas of Singapore taking a week for each. And I think visitor cards at the library are available for about 11 Singapore dollars so I will probably do that too.
Now don’t get me wrong; I like Sebana Cove Marina. Lots of nice, friendly cruisers, great places to bike and walk and time to read, paint and just be lazy. There are monkeys and monitor lizards and bright colored birds we won’t see in Singapore except in the Zoo or Bird Sanctuary. Almost all of our day to day needs are easily met with the trips to Sengai Rengit or the occasional longer trip to Kotah Tinggi. Marina fees are very reasonable. The marina is very well protected from weather. When we go home in the Spring we will more than likely return here as a good place to leave Doramac. But there are no book stores, libraries, museums, or real art supply shops. Some boat supplies are available here or in Kotah Tinggy, but much more is available in Singapore. If you add the cost of several trips to Singapore, it just seems cheaper to move the boat there. So that’s the plan.
We had the name of several marinas in Singapore so a big part of our visit was to visit and chose one. You can’t tell from a website how rolling the slips, noisy or crowded, so we had to go see for ourselves. Good thing. One marina was too rolly, one too dreary and unappealing, one way way too expensive. One was booked up through mid-January. But that’s the one we hope to move to when they have an opening. “One Degree 15″ http://www.one15marina.com/new/index2.htm is on Sentosa Island which is a separate part of Singapore. We took the Sentosa Express light rail and 2 different busses because we didn’t know there was a shuttle bus from the mainland over to Sentosa that actually stops at the marina on its circuit around the island. I sort of had the sensation of being at “Disney Singapore” because of the buses that take you around the area; the friendly helpful staff everywhere, the several resorts on the small island, and just because it seemed slightly unreal. We did check out the marina and speak with Carol in the marina office. The visitor slips looked a bit rolly but not too rolly. There are shuttle buses that take you to a large shopping center with an MRT connection. There is wifi. I’m only sorry it isn’t plop in the middle of Little India where we stayed during our visit.
I didn’t take lots of photos because I knew this was just a quick visit and stopping to take photos takes time. But I did take a few.
We stayed in the part of Singapore called Little India. I’ve never been to India so I can’t tell you how similar Little India is to the real thing; but to me it felt like India. Indian temples, shops, restaurants, sounds, smells… It was great. And very safe. After dinner one night I went walking by myself mostly on the main street but also around corners and down side streets. It was only just starting to get dark and there were lots of people about. No begging either which gets really depressing when you have to deal with it all of the time as we had to in the Philippines. Actually Malaysia and Indonesia had almost no begging either.
Broadway Hotel where we stayed on Serangoon Road. It was your basic room but comfortable and it had it’s own bathroom. The budget type hotels often have shared bathrooms in the hall. So we splurged a bit to have our own. Our friend Marie Louise had told us about Broadway where she stays when she goes to Singapore.
It was $70.62 U.S. I don’t know what that amount of money would buy in parts of New York or Boston. But most cruisers seemed to think that was on the high end of things. The couple who ran it were Chinese but there were 2 Indian restaurants just next door and out front. We ate twice at the one on the left side of the photo. Quite good food. From the hotel it was a 5 minute walk to the MRT (Mass Rail Transit) or a 15 minute walk to the Sim Lin Tower or Sim Lin Square where you can buy anything electronic there is to buy.
I thought this was pretty funny. I know folks take small things. I would guess they would notice if you walked out with the TV.
We ate a mutton dish, green peppers stuffed with veggies and something creamy that was wonderful, mixed spicy veggies and great garlic bread. Randal ate the left-over bread for breakfast. We sat outside and watched the street life go by. We went back the next night just for the peppers but they were different and not as great.
We came to Singapore for books and bought several. I had read a review of the Widows of Eastwick but had never read Witches of Eastwick so got both. (The next day at the Bras Basah Complex I bought more books, one for 1 Singapore $ and one for 2 Singapore $$ and some art supplies at Art Friend.) We walked all the way from Little India to Takashimaya Shopping Center to go to the Kinokuniya Book Store. It probably took a half hour with a young local man leading us part of the way. What a book store! 43,000 square feet and over 500,000 titles on the shelves!!! I think I read that it is the largest book shop in Southeast Asia. You could have spent a week there just beginning to browse. We spent about a half hour. Luckily they have lots of helpful staff and we had specific titles we wanted. Then Randal went to the coffee shop to rest his feet and I went to pay for the books. There was a really huge line waiting to pay, but somehow I came at the register from a different direction so didn’t see the line. No one said anything; not the cashiers or the folks in line. After I paid I saw the line and was really embarrassed. I apologized to the clerks and to the line and no one seemed to get upset, except me. We walked outside to get a taxi but the line was longer than in the book shop. We started walking back towards Little India looking for a taxi but had no luck so stopped at a Starbucks for a rest and for Randal to check his email. He had lugged his computer to Singapore and everywhere we went. Notice the Santa Fe Tex-Mex food in the background. Before we left we went into the department store across from Starbucks to use the rest room. On our way out Randal found the exact perfect shorts with 6 pockets with Velcro tabs so he bought 2 pairs. When we left we found another taxi stand with a short line so caught a taxi back to our hotel. We ate our first green pepper dinner but it was so filling I had a hard time sleeping even with all of our exercise.
One of the things I loved most about Singapore is the diversity. People from everywhere so cultures from everywhere.
This is the David Elias building built in 1928. It is located near Little India. Of course I noticed the Jewish Star because there are so few in Asia where we have been.
There are 2 synagogues in Singapore. The Magahin Aboth Synagogue was established in 1878 and is now the oldest in East Asia. The oldest Jewish cemetery is next to one of the oldest Hindu Temples.
This Muslim building was also near Little India. Of course there were Hindu temples too like the one that I photographed in Johor Bahru.
I do hope to explore lots more of Singapore when we live there.